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What is condensation?

Condensation occurs when warm moist air hits cold surfaces. This causes the air to condense and form droplets of water, this can often result in patches of black mould. Mould may grow in other rooms from where.

the moisture comes from. It is commonly noticeable on windows on a cold morning. It happens when the weather is cold, and even when the weather is dry, primarily between the months of October and April and is usually caused from day-to-day living.

Where do you find condensation?

It can be found on and adjacent to windows, in the corners and edges of rooms and behind or inside wardrobes and cupboards, especially if they are against an external wall.

Are my damp symptoms caused by condensation?

Not all dampness is caused by condensation, sometimes damp can be as a result of:

  • Leaking internal or external pipes
  • Roof leaks caused by broken, missing or faulty tiles, guttering or chimney flashings
  • Rising damp because of a defective damp proof course or faulty rendering, mortar joints or blocked cavities.

Dampness of this nature will often result in a ‘tide mark’ and can occur at any time of the year.

If you think your home could have one of the above defects, please phone us on 0345 065 5656 to arrange an inspection.


What causes condensation?

There are three main causes of condensation:

  • Too much moisture production in your home
  • Insufficient ventilation
  • Cool temperatures.

Everyday activities such as cooking, washing, drying clothes indoors, using portable gas and paraffin heaters, topping up fish tanks etc. add to the existing moisture already present in the air.

How to avoid condensation

Reduce moisture levels

Ordinary daily activities can produce a lot of moisture quite quickly. Some steps you can take to reduce moisture production in your home are:

  • Cover boiling pans when cooking and use extractor fans if fitted
  • Ensure tumble dryers are properly vented to the outside
  • Dry clothes outdoors if you can, if you are unable to, try to dry them in one room that has an open window and keep the door shut
  • Opening windows or trickle vents to remove moisture from the air
  • Do you have a tropical fish tank that regularly requires topping up with water? The water that has evaporated from the tank has added to the moisture level of the air within your home. You could consider fitting a lid
  • If you are running a bath, put the cold water in first to reduce the amount of steam
  • Close kitchen and bathroom doors to stop water vapour movement to other parts of the house.
Raise the temperature

The best suggested way to heat your home is through steady background heating throughout the day. This is because warmer air can hold more moisture; as the temperature of the walls increase, the possibility of condensation forming on them is reduced. It is the repeated fluctuation of room temperatures that allows mould to appear. Each time the room cools down the moisture in the air settles onto the cold surfaces, which in turn never get a chance to dry out fully.

Try to heat the whole house rather than just one room. Remember, as the temperature of the walls of the property is increased, the likelihood of condensation forming is reduced.

Cleaning mould

Once the steps listed have been taken, you should find the condensation reduces. However, any existing mould will need to be washed off and treated with a fungicidal wash (generally available in supermarkets and DIY stores) alternatively, you could use diluted bleach. It is important you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for health and safety information to enable you to use the products safely.

Increase ventilation

Increasing ventilation will prevent moisture laden air from being trapped in your home. One action that could be taken is as simple as opening a window. If you have trickle vents fitted to your windows, try to keep them open as much as possible too, especially in rooms you always use.

Move furniture away from the walls slightly to allow air to circulate behind them.

It’s better to provide ventilation at the point where moisture is produced.

During cold months, only open windows when producing steam, or use an extractor fan if fitted. Then close again to keep the room warm. Remember, condensation appears on cold surfaces. The warmer the room, the less steam will be produced.

Get the energy low down! 10 energy saving ideas
  1. Heating – Having your heating on around 18°C will help maintain temperature and reduce moisture levels
  2. Lighting – Each low energy light bulb you install can save you up to £11 a year and can last up to 12 times as long
  3. Cooking – Place lids on saucepans to ensure the heat is kept in. This can reduce the energy required by 90% and you will find you you can reduce the heat with the lid on
  4. TVs – Always remember to turn your TV and video equipment off when not in use. TVs left on standby can use up to 85% of the energy they use when they are in use
  5. Bathing – A shower will use a third of the hot water needed for a bath. Reducing water consumption reduces CO2 emissions as mains water is pumped using electricity
  6. Mobile phones – 95% of the energy used by mobile phone chargers is wasted. 5% is used to charge the phone, whilst the remainder is used when the charger is left switched on at the socket and not connected to a phone
  7. Kettles – When filling the kettle, only fill with the amount of water required
  8. Washing machines – An energy efficient washing machine could use up to 33% less energy per year
  9. Fridges – An A-rated fridge freezer could save you up to £35 a year in running costs
  10. Dishwashing – A new energy efficient dishwasher can use 40% less energy than a typical old one.
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